Connect, Creat and Celebrate!
2020 US-Japan Friendship Coming of Age Celebration
Megumi Ijiri Haskin
President, JIA Foundation
“SEIJIN-no- hi,” Coming of Age Day, is a national Japanese holiday held on the second Monday of January to honor young adults who turned 20 years old over the past year. It is a way of welcoming them into society and is an essential rite of passage for the Japanese people. This symbolic moment of transitioning from childhood to adulthood marks the point at which the journey to become an honorable members of society begins.
On SEIJIN-no-hi, the Coming of Age ceremonies, SEIJIN-shiki, take place across Japan in city halls and other official centers. Customarily, people return to their hometowns for this celebration, the young women dress in a gorgeous kimono called furisode for the ceremony and young men weare hakama, the traditional men’s kimono.
It is an opportunity for the SEIJIN, the newly recognized adults, to receive encouraging advice for this next chapter of their lives.
As newly gained freedom and responsibilities are celebrated in the company of family members and old friends, this moment is one that people remember for the rest of their lives. It is a memory that we all look back on fondly.
JIA Foundation is bringing this tradition to USA. We are organizing a hybrid version of SEIJIN- shiki titled “US-Japan Friendship Coming of Age Celebration” on January 19, 2020 at Bellevue College.
Let’s honor SEIJIN in our community!
Our children grow up benefitting from the wide range of enriching Japanese cultural programs offered in the Seattle area. Many of them attend Japanese language schools on top of the already heavy workloads that they have from their regular schooling. Their commitment can also be seen in their service as community volunteers for Japanese cultural programs.
They do their part in honoring the Japanese culture and values in our community. It is our turn to honor their hard work by sending them off to the next stage of their lives with our love and support.
We would like the Seattle version of the SEIJIN-shiki to be an opportunity for young adults to reconnect with fellow SEIJIN in our community, to revisit their Japanese identity, and to be proud of their heritage.
Our hybrid version of SEIJIN-shiki welcomes not only young adults who are Japanese but also those who have an affinity for Japanese culture. You don’t need a furisode or hakama. You don’t need to speak Japanese. All you need is a love for the Japanese culture and our community. The SEIJIN-shiki will be held in English and will be an opportunity for Japanese culture and values to be shared, and for friendships to be built amongst multi-national attendees.
Let’s connect, create and celebrate together!
JIA foundation is leading the SEIJIN-shiki steering committee along with a student led planning committee. Student committee members have gained hands on experience of how to organize an international event and it has been a great opportunity for them to build their confidence and leadership skills. The student committee includes six Japanese exchange students, most of whom have experienced the SEIJIN-shiki in their hometown in Japan.
They created the slogan: “Connect, Create and Celebrate!”
It is our goal for the “Class of 2020” SEIJIN to feel connected to one another through this celebration and for it to become an everlasting memory that they can cherish throughout their lives.
Planning is currently underway. The student committee will be creating a video presentation, as well as inviting speakers and performers for the event.
Please spread the words and let the new SEIJIN know about our inaugural SEIJIN-shiki. We are inviting 20 year olds (the Japanese age to be SEIJIN) and 21 year olds (the American age to be adult) whose birthdays fall between January 2018 and March 2000.
Let’s celebrate their journey into adulthood together!
Let’s show community support!
This event will be only possible through the support of the community.
We are very thankful for their generous support that has shaped this ceremony as a true celebration of community. Please join them in supporting our effort to create a community-wide SEIJIN-shiki for our future leaders. Fundraising is ongoing and volunteers are needed to make this event to happen.